- Two days ago, the SF Chronicle said that Ross Bowers is winning the QB competition.
Whether the Cal coaching staff wants to publicly announce it or not, Bowers has clearly been the leader for the starting gig over transfer Brandon McIlwain, redshirt freshman Chase Garbers and senior Chase Forrest during training camp.
Save for a period when he disciplined himself by running the Memorial Stadium stairs after his throw on a fade route drifted out of bounds, Bowers has taken every snap with the first-team offensive line as the team just reached the midway point of its 14-practice training camp.
“You could watch last year that he just stepped right into a lot of blitzing linebackers to get the extra step to throw the ball,” left tackle Patrick Mekari said. “When you see a guy get knocked down and then get up and hit my head five times, it’s crazy. He’s a fearless leader, and the way he holds himself is constant.
- But yesterday McIlwain showed some progress at the open practice (which I attended) and this was not lost on the Chronicle’s Cal beat writer Rusty Simmons. (There’s also some discouraging notes about our kicking game in the article)
Working exclusively with the second-team offensive line, the sophomore led touchdown drives on two of his three possessions during “play the game” periods — training camp’s closest simulation of real football.
McIlwain completed 7 of 10 passes for 94 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown throw to Jeremiah Hawkins, and ran seven times for 41 yards, including a 28-yard dash that kick-started the offense’s first scoring drive.
He also connected with freshman Nikko Remigio for a 52-yard pass that acted as the highlight on a day that desperately yearned for some.
“My first impression is that we’ve got a long way to go,” head coach Justin Wilcox said. “Not to minimize some of the good things that happened, but collectively, as a team, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
- The Daily Cal’s summary of the first half of Fall Camp has some great notes on the linebackers and wide receivers.
- Chris Fatilua is recovering well from his spinal cord injury.
- Athlon Sports ranks Cal’s uniforms 9th in the Pac-12. Lame-o.
- Sexual assault victim Brenda Tracy, who was raped at Oregon State in 1999 (one of the assailants would later play for Cal), spoke with the Cal Football team on Friday.
- Daily Cal has a retrospective out on former head coach Ben Braun.
“We thought that if he could build something of that quality at a small school with limited resources, that we could be very successful with him at Cal,” says Bob Driscoll, who was the executive associate athletic director when Cal hired Braun.
Unlike at Siena Heights or Eastern Michigan, Braun didn’t need to build the program from the ground up, but rather to continue the legacy already in place.
Every program is unique, but the situation Braun inherited would throw even the greatest coaches for a loop.
Braun took over after Todd Bozeman, who resigned after the 1995-96 season amid allegations that he paid the parents of point guard Jelani Gardner.
Bozeman’s tenure at Cal ended in 1996, but the NCAA did not penalize Cal until 1997. This delay allowed Braun to coach his first full season at Cal with some degree of normalcy.
Braun kicked off his first year at Cal with a bang, winning Pac-10 Coach of the Year and leading his team to the Sweet 16, where it ultimately fell to Vince Carter and North Carolina.